Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Vacation Post #3

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We had a delicious breakfast at our hotel. We had an easy trip from there to New Orleans; this should have been our warning that something bad was about to happen. Ty napped when we needed him to. Emily didn’t nap, but she can survive without one. We did have some getting lost issues in New Orleans because the GPS told us to exit too early. There were no exit numbers or street signs on the exit or the next several streets. So we had gone several blocks before we knew that we were going the wrong way. We eventually found the Louisiana Children’s Museum in spite of the messed up GPS, lack of street signs, and the rain!

I would definitely recommend this museum for any families traveling to NOLA. They had a toddler play area with things for them to climb on, ride-on toys, slides, etc. Dee took the following pictures of Ty having a blast. This is Ty in action--he is definitely a busy boy!

I look at this photo and think of my little brother when he was a kid.

And this face is Ty's signature look lately.

There was a little room decorated just like the room in Goodnight Moon. You may recognize the painting on the wall if your kids like that book as much as mine do. Ty was taking a little break in the rocking chair.

That about sums up the toddler area other than a huge library that took up an entire wall, surrounded by cushy bean bags for the kiddos to do some reading.

While Ty was playing there, Emily got to go to a pretend grocery store and “shop.” Some children were play shopping, and other children were pretending to be the cashiers. They had little metal grocery carts, working cash registers, and aprons for the children (pretending to be cashiers) to wear. Emily made me laugh with the items she chose to “purchase.” She bought 1 bottle of water, 1 gallon of milk, a crab, crab boil, a kid’s cuisine, a fish, a gallon of ice cream, eggs, cereal, and graham crackers. She paid pretend money to the girl that rang her up, and that little girl gave her pretend change. She told Emily her total was 21.83 and gave her 15.00 in pretend change. Wow! My little Em is a bargain shopper! It was funny because both the girl playing the cashier's role and Emily were calling each other ma'am. And since Dee had the camera, I don't have any pictures of this play area.

They had a bubble station where the kids could blow a huge bubble up around themselves. Emily said this was her favorite. This is her Daddy helping her form a big bubble all around her body. I couldn't back up far enough to get the actual bubble in the picture (it was very crowded at this activity), so she is standing in the middle of a large tire that has been sliced open. There is bubble solution in the tire, and a gray hula hoop-type thing is laying in the bubble solution in the open tire. There is a rope attached to the gray hula hoop, and her Daddy is pulling on the rope which raises the hoop which pulls the bubble solution around the child. Clear as mud, huh?

Then, they had a restaurant where the parents sit down and the children pretend to be waiters, hosts, cooks, and even bus boys. Emily gave us our menus, took our orders, and brought me a hot dog and a slice of melon. She brought her Dad 2 slices of pizza. She brought her brother a hamburger and ice cream cone (all plastic food). You can see what cramped quarters the little cooks were working in. Emily has actually squeezed herself in under a taller girl.

I believe this was sweet tea that she was pouring!

After serving us, she sat down and asked me to bring her some lunch.

She was looking over the menu.

Note to self: Teach Emily to drink pretend drinks without actually putting her mouth on a cup that has been played with by hundreds of children.

I guess we can call this Emily's signature look. I cringe any time I am trying to take a photo, and some well-meaning individual says SMILE because this is what you will get.

Although he can not verbalize his thoughts, I am pretty sure that Ty's favorite part were the many cars, boats, firetrucks, etc. scattered throughout. He jumps at any chance to "drive." I promise he was having more fun than what it looks like!

They had an area that was decorated just like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. They had his door to walk into, the bench to change your shoes, the trolley, castle, tree, everything. Both kid enjoyed playing here for a while, and we loved playing with them in this area, too. In fact, we were so busy playing that no one took any pictures here.

Those are the main highlights of the children’s museum. This is also where our lovely family vacation takes a turn for the worse. We arrived at our hotel, the W New Orleans, and valet parked our car (required, $29/day). We unloaded all of our stuff and headed into the very crowded lobby where I tried to keep the kiddos interested in some Chex mix. Dee waited in a long line and was told that none of the rooms were ready (this is why the lobby was so crowded). They would not give an estimated time for this to be complete and said they could lock up our items while we go out for a while. Keep in mind, we had arrived an hour past "check-in time." Here we are, stuck, without a car, with 2 kids (one of whom has not had a nap), in New Orleans.

My thought was when you are paying over $30/day for parking if you include tips, why couldn't the valet give us a heads-up that we weren't going to be able to check in just yet before we gave up our car. It MIGHT have been helpful if he had suggested that we go out for ice cream or an early dinner first. Sure, we could have gotten our car back out of parking, but that would have meant more tipping of the valets. I sure hope that this is not why they didn't inform us of the situation when we pulled in.

We ventured out with Ty in the stroller and nap-less Emily walking. We found a mall, and both kids behaved wonderfully as we roamed around bored because it was a super-fancy mall with super-fancy stores and super-fancy marble floors. I didn’t really want to go in any stores being that I had been in a car for 3 hours and played at the museum for 2 hours. I was in my travel clothes, the kids were in their grungies, Emily’s hair was falling, and Ty had crumbs on his face. I had my bulging diaper bag, and no, I did not feel like going into Coach or Saks 5th Avenue in that condition. We walked around for 90 minutes before heading back to the hotel.

Our room was still not ready (nor was anyone else’s—the lobby was full of angry, waiting people). We waited 30 minutes in the lobby (the kids had been good for so long and were now starting to lose it), and Dee asked the receptionists “What are we supposed to do?” They gave us a comp for the restaurant, so we headed in there. Okay, lots of white linens and candles. Not so sure this is the place for us. With a screaming Ty, mad because we wouldn’t let him play with the knife, and not being waited on for 10 minutes, we left. Dee asked the concierge for the number to the Holiday Inn. Ironically, our room became available as Dee was on the phone about to book us a room there. It’s a good thing for the W because I was about to stop making my kids act right and just allow them to run wild in the fancy lobby. Maybe that would have made them get our room ready a little faster. So 2 ½ hours later, we are finally in our room!!!

So much for our plans for cleaning up and taking the kids out for seafood. We were not about to attempt eating out with the mood our children were in, so we decided to use our $100 comp to order room service. I knew it was going to be bad when our orders came to us with burned fries. For 3 grilled cheese sandwiches, a burger, a cup of French onion soup, 2 glasses of milk, and 2 cokes, it was $98.00. Let me just say it was so nasty, I couldn’t force myself to eat it. The kids’ grilled cheese sandwiches were good, but mine (made with some fancy cheeses and stuff) was horrible. I’ve never had bad French onion soup…until tonight. And my Dr. Pepper was watered down due to melting ice. Dee hated his hamburger as well.

So the bright side was that our kids thought eating in our room was way cool, and the lighting was beautiful for photos!

So just in case you've never noticed, Dee and Ty look kinda sorta similar!

Talk about some tired eyes!

This is what a $12.00 grilled cheese and fries plate looks like.

And this is what a tired but hungry 3 year old looks like.

And this is what the nastiest meal I've ever not eaten looks like.

Surely nothing else could go wrong. Well, when they brought us our bags (they wouldn't let us get them ourselves from the "secure area"), they didn’t bring our portable DVD player, so we had to listen to Emily whine because we had been promising a movie, but all of our movies were in the DVD player case. It took them over an hour to bring us our DVD player and almost 3 hours to bring our crib.

Did I mention that internet costs $14/day here, it's not even wireless, and we did all web browsing from a crummy wireless signal we picked up from somewhere else because we were not going to give this hotel one penny more than we have already given them. Note to self #2: Don't let husband book family hotels on hotels dot com anymore.

I promise we actually had fun on our vacation despite "The W," Dolly, and an oil spill. My next post should be more upbeat! And shorter!


Dawn said...

OMGoodness! And yes they do look a bit similar. :)

I would have been irate girl!!! Glad you got in a room though! The last time we stayed in a hotel we had the same thing happen, of course it wasn't valet parking so we took our tired kids in our own car for a very aimless drive around town for 3 hours.

What's up with hotel staff??? Just clean the dang rooms and quit overbooking them so much so at least you have a few clean ones to give away in an emergency!

Can't wait for the next post!

Dawn said...

OMGoodness! And yes they do look a bit similar. :)

I would have been irate girl!!! Glad you got in a room though! The last time we stayed in a hotel we had the same thing happen, of course it wasn't valet parking so we took our tired kids in our own car for a very aimless drive around town for 3 hours.

What's up with hotel staff??? Just clean the dang rooms and quit overbooking them so much so at least you have a few clean ones to give away in an emergency!

Can't wait for the next post!

Kristi said...

The museum looks awesome. We may be headed to NOLA at the end of Sept., I'll have to take the boys there while David is in his conference. Sounded like fun. Your hotel story would make any mom so mad! I would have been fuming. Wow, $98 for sandwiches, sodas and a burger! Glad you survived!

Becky said...

Ahh, vacations...they are a whole new drama in and of themselves! Especially when your dealing with the unknown factor of hotels...oh and flights! IT MAKES ME CRAZY!What a NIGHTMARE!!!
Although the pics of the museum were fantastic and looks like Ty and Emily had fun there :)